Boise will celebrate World Refugee Day in the Grove Plaza on Saturday

Posted at 12:05 PM, Jun 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 14:05:02-04

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho has been resettling refugees since 1975 in the Treasure Valley, the Magic Valley and more recently in Pocatello.

Salome Mwangi is one of those refugees who moved to Idaho from New Hampshire after coming to America from Kenya in 2004.

"It’s strange when you are moving to a place with just your dreams and two suitcases," said Mwangi who works with the Idaho Office for Refugees. "You have no idea what you are going to receive and to have a community that embraces you was a game changer for me."

On Saturday starting at 9:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. there will be a days worth of activities in the Grove Plaza where people can learn about different cultures from all over the world through music, dancing and food.

"I love the dancing, I love hearing music that is familiar to some of the places that I grew up in," said Mwangi. "I love trying out the different foods made by people that moved to Boise from other parts of the world, I think I just love the showcasing of culture."

But the celebration will also be special for another reason as 14 people from eight different countries will become American citizens at 11:00 a.m.

"I just spoke with someone who is receiving his citizenship with his wife, they are from Afghanistan and have been here for five years," said Holly Beech with the Idaho Office for Refugees. "The joy in his voice and the pride in his voice in becoming an American citizen was so beautiful so I think that is what I’m most excited for and secondly not to be cliche, but I’m excited for the food."

It will be a special moment for Mwangi as well who after receiving her citizenship she has worked for the Idaho Office of Refugees in conjunction with other organizations across the state to help people transition to starting a new life.

"It always brings tears to my eyes because it reminds me of when I became an American citizen and the implications of that legally, socially and personally," said Mwangi.

At 1:00 p.m. the party will transition over to Julia Davis Park for a Juneteenth Jubilee celebration.